Foundational Beliefs: Prayer
Prayer is possibly the most misunderstood element of all the Christian faith. Many Christians and churches make one of two mistakes when it comes to prayer:
Mistake #1 - our prayers reflect our heart, not His heart - in other words, we use prayer to try to make God see things our way, do things our way, etc. We treat God like a "vending machine in the sky", and the only time we choose to pray is when we need or want something. We want Him to align with our desires and perspectives, rather than wrestling to let him transform our thoughts and desires.
Mistake #2 - Prayer is an appetizer, not a main course - in other words, we see prayer as a small addition to our Christian life. In our personal lives, we think of prayer as small text messages in God's direction: pray before you eat, pray when you put the kids to bed. When we gather as churches, we think of prayer as the 30-second bookends to each part of the service: pray after the last song, pray after the sermon, pray before you dismiss.
At Antioch, we believe and teach the opposite: that prayer is an act of choosing to align our hearts with His heart, and it's not a side-dish - it may be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing that Christians do. When we pray, we are inviting God to change the things that we cannot change: our hearts.
For this reason, we do a few things that may seem strange:
- we pray the same way every week - utilizing the ACTS model (Adoration - Confession - Thanksgiving - Supplication). We do this as a teaching method, trying to learn to pray in a way that begins with God's grace and worthiness before asking for the things that we need [which is also biblical]
- we devote significant time in each gathering (house-church and church-together) to praying together. If any part of the schedule has to be shortened or removed, it will be the sermon, not the prayer time.
- one of the reasons we pre-record sermons is so that house church pastors will have more time to devote to praying for their people - rather than crammed in an office preparing a lesson, we want our house church pastors to be praying, encouraging, counseling, and investing in people.
- we encourage people to pray on their knees, or standing up, as a reminder that prayer is a special, holy moment of communion with God.
We believe if we can raise up a group of believers who pray fervently in line with God's own heart, He will be faithful to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine. We acknowledge that we don't have the power, on our own, to establish God's Kingdom in Spokane - but we will pray fervently and often that God himself would do what seems impossible to us.
Spend time today praying this prayer from Eph 3:14-20:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lordâ€™s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledgeâ€”that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Grace and peace,